tv ABC World News Sunday ABC July 4, 2010 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT
i'm dan harris. tonight on "world news," we are in this to win. the bold declaration by the new commander in afghanistan, taking over a troubled war at a crucial moment. money troubles. bp is not just gushing oil, it is also hemorrhages cash, and there are new reports tonight that the oil giant is now looking for help. melting steele? after another big gaffe by the chairman of the republican party, senior members of his own party are now turning on him. bucks for their bang. when one town ran out of cash, how the locals stepped up to save the fireworks. and, going fourth. on this independence day, the badly wounded soldier, his sweetheart, and their extraordinary wedding.
good evening, and happy fourth of july. on this independence day, general david petraeus took command of the war in afghanistan. at a time when casualties are rising, the american public is getting increasingly impatient and the last commander was just fired for complaining about his bosses in "rolling stone." despite all of that, petraeus made a bold and apparently uncharacteristic statement today. "we are in this to win," he said. we're going to start tonight with martha raddatz in kabul. >> reporter: dan, general petraeus warned there would be tough days ahead, but he is used to those. and he is very used to taking on a new command. we got a glimpse behind the scenes today. general petraeus practicing for his ceremony. the passing of the colors. a microphone test. >> can you hear me now? >> reporter: rehearsal hardly seem eed necessary for petraeus. he's been through similar lair ceremonies so many times.
2008, at central command. and the most significant, iraq 2007. a move that helped lead to a dramatic improvement in security. and today, the official ceremony in afghanistan. >> general david petraeus now assumes command. >> reporter: where petraeus clearly has the same hopes for improvement. >> as each of you knows well, we're engaged in a tough fight. after years of war, we have arrived at a critical moment. >> reporter: but petraeus left no doubt, he intended to prevail. >> we must demonstrate to the people, and to the taliban that afghan and isaf forces are here to safeguard the afghan people. and that we are in this to win. that is our clear objective. >> reporter: the general also heaped praise on his predecessor, stanley mcchrystal, for his energy and leadership. several senior aides of mcchrystal's were in the audience. their futures uncertain. while there was a lot of talk today of a new beginning,
nothing has really changed with the war itself. and the challenges remain immense. june was the deadliest month of the war in more than nine years of fighting. more than 100 troops were killed, 60 of them american. and just as he did in iraq, me tape yus will be presiding over a surge of forces. by september, all 30,000 additional troops will be in place, hoping to make measurable progress by december, which thus far has been hard to see on any large scale. >> martha, given the challenges you list there and given what you know about the general, are you surprised to hear him talk so openly about victory? >> reporter: well, actually, i was, dan. i was surprised by that because he's usually very cautious. i remember an interview i did with him in 2008 about iraq, and he would not use the word victory. he would not even use the word optimistic. he said he was a realist. but in this case, in afghanistan, he really needs to
reassure the afghans, reassure the american public. and the other thing is, dan, i don't think he'd say it unless he believes it. >> in afghanistan, what does victory mean? >> reporter: he talked about that a bit today, and what he said, basically, is, he doesn't want al qaeda to have a safe haven. he doesn't want the taliban to inflict any terror on the population here. so, that's a very tall order. >> indeed. and he doesn't have much time. martha raddatz reporting from afghanistan, thank you. today, general petraeus pointedly avoided making any reference to the deadline that president obama set to begin picking troops out of afghanistan, one year from now. top republicans, however, were not holding their tongues today. >> if you tell the enemy that you're leaving on a date certain then that enemy will wait until you leave. >> general petraeus needs this monkey off his back. it's not fair to him and our troops and our civilian counterparts to be operating in
afghanistan with a belief that come july 2011, we're going to begin to withdraw no matter what. that can't be the way we lead this. >> senators mccain and graham were speaking from afghanistan today. the president, of course, is facing a growing chorus of democrats who want to start withdrawing troops sooner rather than later. a scare today for the security team protecting vice president biden in iraq. five mortars were fired into the protected area of baghdad formally known as the green zone, while biden was there. doesn't seem like biden was in any danger. he is in iraq to meet american troops and to urge rival iraqi leaders to end a deadlock and form a new government, finally. and now to the oil spill, on this day 76. after saying for weeks that it had plenty of money to deal with the mess, bp now appears to be scrambling to shore up its finances. matt gutman is once again on the gulf for us tonight. matt, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, dan. for about a month now, there's been mounting concern about bp's ability to shoulder those
staggering costs of the fines, the claims, and, of course, the cleanup. and tonight, we learned that bp is actively searching out for new minority owners and telling its partners in that doomed well to pay up. as the oil gushes, bp is hemorrhages cash. a billion dollars a month on the cleanup alone. tonight, abc news learned that the company has demanded its two minority partners in this botched well pitch in and pay $400 million for the month of may alone. june hasn't yet been tallied. and having lost half of its stock value since the spill, the company is reportedly scanning for potential investors, willing to buy up to 10% of the company. all that, as this well shoots 1 million gallons of oil into the gulf a day. and to clean it up, if world's largest skimmer continues to plow the gulf for oil. on its second day of trials, despite rough seas. bp and the coast guard will decide in the coming days whether to lease this ship, 50%
longer than the titanic. in fact, "a whale" was the only skimmer in the gulf today, as 12-foot seas stall the cleanup yet again. and in the marshes, a cleanup crew waiting for the coast guard's permission to get to work. >> can't get ahold of the coast guard. >> reporter: which never arrived. a few minutes later, they peeled out. the cleanup crew heading back to port. so, we motored out to the spot where they were supposed to clean. you can see the reeds are painted with the black sludge. but what local officials just told us is that that oil is also deep inside that marsh. and it is also on the beaches, where communities are sapped of hundreds of millimeter millions of tourist dollars. and across the gulf coast, and this fourth of july sunday, celebrations were muted. planes for help were not. >> a way of life, of hard-working, caring people is
being wisked away. we could use your prayers. >> reporter: and dan, "a whale" should be ready to go by midweek. the tests should be done by then. and its owner said progress has been made but they said the heavy sapps have hindered its ability to take in the oil. still, if bp does lease that ship, expect it to get into action almost immediately. dan? >> a lot of people eager to see what that thing can do. matt gutman, thank you. there are new questions tonight about whether the chairman of the republican party, michael steele, can effectively lead the gop any longer. today, several top republicans were ramping up their criticism of steele, after a remark he made last week, he said afghanistan was, quote, a war of obama's choosing. david kerley is in washington on that story for us. >> reporter: at home this holiday, michael steele is frantically working the phones to save his job. >> hi, mr. steele. >> not doing interviews. sorry. >> no comment at all? >> none, thanks. >> reporter: but his own party members are talking.
>> this made angry, upset. >> those statements are wildly inaccurate. >> unacceptable. careless comment. >> reporter: it's what steele said as a connecticut fund-raiser about the war in afghanistan. comments posted on youtube, which sound more like a left-leaning democrat. >> this was a war of obama's choosing. this is not -- this was not something the united states had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in. >> reporter: and he said the war is unwinnable. >> for the chairman of the party to arctticulate that point of vw is indefensible. >> reporter: it is not steele's first misstep. he's dubbed himself the gift that keeps on giving. he was quoted as saying abortion was the woman's individual choice why the party proclaims a pro-life position. and then, there was thain assault to republican icon rush limbaugh. >> rush limbaugh, his whole thing is entertainment. yes, it's --
>> reporter: some republicans have had enough. >> mr. steele is going to have to assess whether he can still lead the republican party. >> reporter: and all those phone calls may not be working. >> he didn't persuade me that it wouldn't be better for the party and the country if he stepped down. >> reporter: republicans are so angry because this is a distraction. they bv feeling the wind at their back going into november's election, looking to exploit differencestown the democratic party. but we're not talking about that. tonight, we're talking about the leader of the republican party. dan? >> david kerley, thank you. and so now, for more on this, we're going to turn to our seen your washington editor, rick klein. rick, in this environment, how long can michael steele hold only his job? >> he's there for good, dan. the republicans hate these gaffes but they would really hate a fight over the rnc chairmanship that doesn't go anywhere. there's no way to get rid of him and nothing to suggest that he's going to take john mccain's
advice and reassess if he's able to lead the party. >> where does that leave the party? >> that leaves michael steele virtually irrelevant. when the big money is going to the party commit deeps, the outside groups, not to the rnc, and on messaging, house and senate republican leaders are cut him out of the relevant discussions. the only people that want to talk about michael steele these dames and going up through the reacti election are democrats. >> i can imagine. rick, thank you. there is word from london tonight that the man convicted of bombing a pan-am jet over scotland might live ten more years, even though he was freed from prison on the grounds that we was near death. a british cancer doctor helped win early release from the man, by saying that the bomber had terminal cancer the doctor is now saying he's embarrassed that the man outlived his prognosis. and, in mexico, millimeters voted today in local elections after a campaign that was marred by assassinations and scandals,
underscoring the power of the drug car items there and posing a big challenge to the president. the opposition party is hoping capitalize on voter frustrations. and coming up here on "world news" this sunday, how low cams in one small town saved their fourth of july fireworks. food fight. one of the biggest events in the fierce spot of competitive eating. who will be this year's top dog? and, the fourth of july bride, getting ready to walk down the aisle for a wedding that almost did not happen. what you did at this morning's meeting? that was pure poetry. stop it. hello? you spotted a million dollar accounting error that no one else noticed. that was pretty sweet. but you did have eight layers of sweet crunchy back up. what can i say? you're the man. or -- you know, the little dude. that's me. [ female announcer ] stop mid-morning hunger with kellogg's® frosted mini-wheats® cereal. an excellent source of fiber from 100% whole grain that helps you stay full, so you can stay focused. also, try chocolate little bites.
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for a 30-tablet free trial offer, go to cialis.com. there was a disaster at a fourth of july parade in iowa today. horses pulling a carriage galloped out of control. 24 people got hurt, including 15 children. several of whom are in critical condition tonight. police say the driver of the carriage apparently lost control when a bridle came much of one of the horses. the carriage eventually flipped over, injuring two people inside, as well. much of the rest of the country, this was a holiday celebrated in scorching heat. it's the start of a heat wave, in fact, for a huge stretch of the eastern part of the country. temperatures are in the 90s from north carolina to boston, in the 100s in some places, in fact, and they will stay that way until at least wednesday. today, parade watchers lined shimmering streets under a blazing sun, in so many cities and towns. our stephanie sy joins us now from along the hudson richer in
new york city where crowds will gather to watch tonight's huge fireworks display. stephanie, good nooechbing. >> reporter: good evening, dan. scorching indeed. it is 96 degrees outside here right now. but that's not expected to stop some 3 million people from coming to watch the largest fireworks show in the country, right here over the hudson. the fact is that hundreds of cities have had to cancel their fireworks show this year because of lack of money. i was able to visit one town that kept the tradition alive. the annual fireworks show in pennsylvania almost didn't happen this year. >> i hope the economy gets back where it could be more supportive. but i think the community will always rise to the occasion. >> reporter: for the second year in a row, $20,000 in donations from citizens and local businesses have kept a quarter century tradition from being snuffed out. >> fireworks king of the world! >> reporter: one of the biggest nights here, so, i figured,
let's get together and see how we can keep this thing going. >> nice job. >> perfect. >> just bringing us together. people sitting around here can say, hey, i contributed to this tonight. i'm apart of this. and that's what makes a good community. >> reporter: with budgets strained, cities big and small across the country have had to improvise to keep the fireworks from fizzfuling. in cedar grove, new jersey, the mayor and his son are footing the bill themselves. a local pastor raised money to keep the bombs bursting in bowling green, kentucky, and corporate sponsors have stepped up to save shows from dallas to seattle. bp promised to fund the ooent in durango, colorado, long before the oil spill tarnished the cheap's name. clayton, north carolina, couldn't come up with the cash, so focussed instead of economic al, and perhaps more meaningful traditions. >> you can't put a price on the american spirit. >> please raise your right hand and repeat after me.
>> reporter: whether swearing in new citizens or staring up at the sky, the fourth of july survives. and the big show out here expected to get started around 9:00, when the temperatures will drop only to the mid 80s. dan. this heat wave expected to continue and get worse until wednesday. back to you. >> stephanie sy, thank you. and when we come back, ruments from the annual hot dog eating championship as our fourth of july coverage continues. it's just so frustrating. the middle of this special moment and i need to run off to the bathroom. i'm fed up with always having to put my bladder's needs ahead of my daughter. so today i'm finally talking to my doctor about overactive bladder. [ female announcer ] if you're suffering, today is the day to talk to your doctor
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you can stop that heartburn cold: (sssssssss!!!) zantac. a company in colorado is recalling 66,000 pounds of ground bison meat tonight. the usda has linked that meat to five cases of e. coli. you can find a list at our website, abcnews.com. fortunately, the hot dogs were safe to eat today at the annual hot dog eating contest in new york city. 16 of the world's greatest competitive eaters vied for a share of the $20,000 purse. the event shown live by espn. the winner? joey chestnut. he downed 54 dogs in ten minutes
for his fourth consecutive championship belt. afterwards, joey toasted his victory with a chaser of pep toe base moll. >> you know, i came out here, i knew what i needed to do, and it's fourth of july, just having fun. >> makes it sound easy. and in baghdad, a much more serious indeme den day tradition. at one of saddam hussein's former palances today, vice president joe biden and his wife jill helped to honor 153 new american citizens. they were from nearly 60 different countries, but they already wear the american uniform. >> quite frankly, folks, without you, we wouldn't survive. without new blood and without those of you in uniform, we would not survive. we would not prevail. you represent what america's always stood for. strength. resolve. sacrifice. and diversity. >> and coming up here, an extraordinary way to celebrate the fourth of july for one injured soldier and his sweetheart, when our fourth of july broadcast continues.
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the usual way, but there is one couple in california, taking it a big step further. >> are you excited? yeah? i'm excited for you. >> reporter: this is mallory williamson, and today is her wedding day. >> waited for this day for a long time. i'm really proud of you, honey. >> thank you. >> reporter: it is a day that almost did not come. on april 3rd, her fiance, casey mitchell, was serving in afghanistan when his vehicle hit a an ied. >> i couldn't see anything. there was so much smoke. and i just -- the only thing i realized was i couldn't feel my legs. just lucky to be alive. >> reporter: they worked on his shattered legs. they saved one, but he may still lose the other. in the hospital, he met the first lady. but even more exciting, he saw his baby daughter, whom he'd last seen at her birth. >> i just remember walking in with our daughter and it was like, the best moment ever, just
to see him, and mainly to let him see skyree for the first time since she was born. >> reporter: during the months of rehab, they decided to get married. when it came time to pick the date, the choice was obvious. the fourth of july. >> i knew i was going to get to be home around that time and i told her, i was like, why would that not be a great day to get, you know, married on? >> it's our favorite holiday. both of us love it. >> reporter: days ago, casey and mallory left walter reed for their home near fres know, california. where today, they begin a new life together, one they do not take for granted. >> after this, you know, seeing that, you know, i could be gone, this is the love of my life. not everybody finds that. >> at the end of the day, that's all that matters is that we're together, and that we're going to get through everything. >> and mallory has joked that one advantage of getting married